How Small Investors Can Change the World “Small but mighty” is a phrase we’ve seen applied time and again to describe something that seems too little to notice but that packs a wallop when it comes to impact. A boy named David fells giant Goliath with a single stone. An ant moves a rubber tree plant. The electrons of two hydrogen atoms bond with an oxygen atom, creating life-giving water. A small funder makes a philanthropic investment that changes the world. It’s entirely possible. Unfortunately, the thing that most frequently holds small funders back is their own belief that they’re too small to make a big difference. In fact, small funders are often well positioned to be the catalyst or … Continue reading Small Donors, Big Thinking
Three ways to cede control — and improve your funding results. Most funders — whether institutional or individual — want to give back to society in meaningful ways. But many delude themselves by thinking they know more than they do, have the perfect solution to apply to a problem or are in the best position to make key decisions about where to invest in the problem they hope to solve. At their core, they believe that they know best or are better able to learn about and analyze problems and solutions than the people whom they purport to serve. This is perfectly understandable since our society tends to equate the accumulation of wealth with superior intellect — or at least … Continue reading Want To Give Back? Give Up!
Over the past few years, I’ve been working with more and more foundations that choose to actively engage in public policy discussions as part of their missions. That’s encouraging, because when you get right down to it, nothing really changes unless public policy supports a change. But working in public policy can be messy, intimidating and often frustrating. Based on what we’ve helped our clients document about their policy work, here are three key things to remember before starting any policy effort. Engage multiple voices. No one person or organization has all the answers, and no single perspective or experience represents that of the group. The more voices you can engage, and the more varied the experiences and perspectives that … Continue reading Three Rules to Guide Foundation Policy Efforts